2012 Dodge Charger SXT RWD Plus Ride and Review By Steve Purdy
A Mighty Macho Machine
By Steve Purdy
The politics surrounding just the existence of Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep are complex. Only the future will tell, I suppose, whether our investment - financial and philosophical – has been worth it. Two things I’m certain of, though. First: I’m damn glad that they are alive and well, making impressive products. Second: they have the talented and intuitive, Ralph Gilles, leading design.
Inside we find simple designs with modest materials and trim. We see many parts and pieces shared with Chrysler 300 and other corporate products. I’ll bet the entire dash has less than a third the number of parts of the Hyundai we reviewed last week. While it doesn’t really feel cheap, it makes no pretense to luxury or uber-sophistication. It does a fine job of projecting simplicity and competence with just a hint of retro.
We had no trouble managing any of the mechanical controls. It was just the screen-based ones that caused annoyance. Everything else inside seemed right where it ought to be and do just what was intended. My passengers this week and I all commented on the unexpected quietness of the cabin. The serenity we experienced in the Charger could match a car twice its price. The firm leather seats with decent bolstering and contrasting stitching fit me well causing no road fatigue on my usual one-hour drives. A back seat passenger this week thought it very roomy and comfortable back there. The rear seatbacks fold easily for limited access to the trunk.
An electric shifter manages this new 8-speed transmission. I found it a bit awkward. Even with the paddle shifters, I would much prefer a conventional, cable-based shifter on the console.
Base price on our SXT Plus is $28,495 but with a load of options our bottom line shows $38,170. The $2,000 SXT option includes Napa leather, security alarm, heated rear seats, heated and cooled cup holders, power front seats, lots of LED lighting inside and 18-inch chrome aluminum wheels with low-profile all-season tires. The $1,695 Blacktop Package includes, 552-Watt amplifier, Beats Audio group, paddle shifters, sport leather seats, 20-inch, black wheels and low profile performance tires, special black grille and performance suspension. The $1,495 Driver Convenience Package adds blind spot warning with cross path detection, park assist, back up camera, rain sensing wipers, smart headlamps, automatic headlight dimmer. More packages add adaptive cruise control, ventilated seats, power adjustable heated steering wheel, power adjustable pedals, forward collision warning, navigation system, Sirius satellite radio with one year subscription and more. This think is really loaded. With the $925 destination charge the sticker shows $38,170 on the bottom line.
The Dodge new car warranty covers the whole car for a minimal 3 years or 36,000 miles and a generous 5 years and 100,000 miles on the powertrain. U.S. and Canadian content is 63% with 15% coming from Mexico. The Charger is assembled in the Brampton, Ontario plant.
As one who drives and evaluates slightly more than a car per week, I can say without equivocation this loaded, dressed up, Charger is one that would be at or near the top of my shopping list were I looking for a new full-size sedan. My pretty wife, on the other hand, finds it much too macho for her tastes.
So, there’s just one more thing polarizing us. She likes mild, I like hot. She likes subdued. I like colorful. She likes TV at bedtime. I like a book. She likes her little SLK. I like this cool Charger.
ęSteve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved